I recently got a notification in my global inbox for this comment supposedly directed at me:

notification screenshot

I did not comment on this post, but I did edit it, so I understand from this excellent answer why I would receive a notification if there were no other Jeff involved in this.

But looking at the thread clearly shows this comment was directed at another comment from a different Jeff.

Jeff profile card

comment thread screenshot

Why was JeffPuckettII targeted for notification instead of Jeff? It's obvious there was a pattern match, but why was that partial match preferred over an exact match? Is it possible that we were both notified?

2 Answers 2


To quote two specific bullet points from the "How do the names get matched?" section of the FAQ you linked:

  • Matching is performed in reverse chronological order, so if five people named John are participating, @john will match the most recent John. (Use the next rule to differentiate.)

  • Spaces are removed from the display names for matching purposes. So to match Peter Smith you may use @pet, @peter, @peters, or @petersmith. The last two are useful if Peter Jones is also participating, who can then be distinguished using @peterj. However, no spaces are allowed in the @name itself. Like to notify P Smith, one must use @psm or @psmith. (Here @P Smith would be handled as just @P, which is too short.) Single quotes, dots, dashes and underscores should not be removed.

So Jeff's comment was posted at 22:17:43, then your edit was made 14 seconds later at 22:17:57. Since the other Jeff has no other identifying characters after his name like you do, it was technically impossible for him to be pinged at this point, since there is nothing that you can add to the name in order to direct the comment at him and bypass the rules above. Since you are the most recent Jeff that is eligible to be pinged, a ping to @Jeff would ping you, until the other Jeff posted another comment making him the most recent Jeff again.

The pinging rules on the main site are different from those in chat, and it is not possible to ping more than one person in a comment like it is in a chat message.

  • I swapped out the bug tag for support. But I've been thinking about "it was technically impossible for him to be pinged at this point", and I was wondering, is this a bug? Even though you excellently explained why a certain behavior is elicited, does that necessarily mean it's not a bug? Or should this simply prompt a new feature-request to prefer exact matches over first found pattern match? Jun 12, 2016 at 20:49
  • 1
    @JeffPuckettII Not particularly. It mostly just becomes an argument of which Jeff should be pinged. If it were the other way around, then you just end up with users who complain that they didn't realize there was another Jeff there and that they wanted the ping to go to you. It also cannot possibly be solved in a case where there are two users with the display name "Jeff" and it's not possible to disambiguate between them with text.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jun 13, 2016 at 15:34

By design, if some commenter uses the @name (or its beginning, starting from three chars) which do have more than one user who participated in the post history (edited / commented), the one, whose action has happened later is notified. You have edited the post 14 seconds later than the other Jeff commented, so you actually hijacked his notification.

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